Protests Create Opportunities for Evangelism

  • by Corene Israel

Following the grossly erratic outcome of the November 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, thousands of protestors peacefully filled the streets of Kiev in what would quickly become known as the Orange Revolution.

In response, Ukraine for Christ, Cru's ministry in this country, suspended all regularly planned ministry activities and encouraged staff members to use this opportunity to tell the thousands who were descending on the capital about Christ.

During these weeks, staff members distributed blankets, as well as hot food and beverages, to protestors, opening doors for spiritual conversations. Partnering with local churches, the ministry also set up prayer tables in key locations and passed out orange-hued Four Spiritual Laws tracts.

One staff couple invited protestors, many of whom braved the bitter cold in the tent-filled main street, to spend some of the nights in their home.

The response of the Ukrainians was one of genuine gratitude and openness. For most of these citizens, whose culture is steeped in Russian and Ukrainian Orthodoxy, God is a distant and mystical deity. "You can just hope that He would grant your requests, but you can never be sure," explains Ginger Duncan Youngman, a former staff member in Ukraine.

However, the evangelistic church has seen rapid growth in recent years, and the Orange Revolution, which offered an outlet for Ukraine for Christ to serve their countrymen, may open doors for ministry.

"Our staff members were energized by the openness of people to talk about spiritual subjects, suggesting that there was a corresponding spiritual revolution taking place at the same time," says National Director Brian Birdsall, who volunteered as an election observer.

"A genuine national repentance is taking place that has produced love and unity unlike anything we have ever seen here. The evil forces who tried to steal this election have been overcome by a greater love."